Monday, March 23, 2020

DGB weekend power rankings: A rerun from 1993

Editor’s note: The DGB Power Rankings would normally appear in this space today. However, due to the current shutdown, there is no NHL action to write about. So for this week’s rankings, we’ll do what our friends in the TV industry have been doing: Dip into the archives and air a rerun.

The following Weekend Rankings column originally ran exactly 27 years ago today, on March 23, 1993.

Let’s dive right in with the big news of the day: Yesterday’s trade deadline. As expected, it was a frantic day of wheeling and dealing, with a ton of action to sort through.

Nine trades, to be exact. Involving fourteen different players. Whew. Nine trades! Where do you even begin?

The Penguins loaded up for their run at a three-peat, adding defensemen Mike Ramsey and Peter Taglianetti. That’s not quite up there with the Ron Francis deal from two years ago, but it’s a pair of nice adds that cement the Pens as the favorites heading into the stretch run.

The Kings added veteran blueliner Mark Hardy from the Rangers, while the Caps and Jets pulled off a goalie-for-goalie swap involving Jim Hrivnak and Rick Tabaracci. Murray Craven went to the Canucks for Robert Kron. And Chicago added Craig Muni from Edmonton; the veteran will be going from a bottom-feeder to a Cup contender, and will no doubt be thrilled to report to the Hawks.

The big loser in all of this might be the Rangers, who whiffed in their well-publicized efforts to add a big-name defenseman. They did pick up Esa Tikkanen from Edmonton a few days ago, for the low cost of marginal prospect Doug Weight. And they’re still holding down third in the Patrick, so unless they collapse, they won’t become the first Presidents’ Trophy winner to miss the playoffs. It’s not all bad. But if they’re ever going to break their 53-year-and-counting Cup drought in New York, you’d think Neil Smith will have to learn how to get aggressive at the deadline.

Will any of those trades impact this week’s power rankings? Let’s find out …

Road to the Cup

The five teams that look like they’re headed towards a summer of respectfully celebrating a hard-earned victory in a quiet and dignified fashion.

Last night’s Canucks/Blues game was a real snoozer, eh? Just four goals total in a 3-1 Blues win, one that turned into a goaltending battle between Curtis Joseph and Kirk McLean. Here’s hoping they offered a partial refund to any fans who paid to see that dud. Luckily, these sorts of defensive struggles remain rare; there’s only been one other game all week that featured fewer than five goals, compared to an even dozen that featured eight or more.

Offense isn’t quite back up to 1980s levels, but it’s rebounded nicely after a two-year dip that saw league scoring drop all the way down to seven goals-per-game. With a league full of in-their-prime legends and young up-and-coming stars, good luck to any defensive-minded coaches out there looking to stem the coming tide of fan-friendly offense; they’ll no doubt have a devil of a time.

5. Washington Capitals (36-28-7, +24 true goals differential*) – They’ve cooled off since last month’s impressive seven-game win streak, but they remain well-positioned for home ice in the playoffs. Their path out of the division goes through Pittsburgh, which is a concern, but they’re pretty much the only Patrick team that has any chance of beating the Penguins. And besides, they’ve lost to the Pens in each of Pittsburgh’s two Cup-winning years. If I know the law of averages, there’s no way that keeps happening.

By the way, how about that Dale Hunter? Three points against the Sharks and he’s closing in on the team scoring lead. Don’t turn your back on this guy, he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

4. Boston Bruins (41-25-7, +38) – They remain one of the most consistent teams in the league, with last night’s comeback win over the Whalers meaning they still haven’t lost consecutive games since early January. While they haven’t caught the Habs for top spot in the Adams yet, that feels all but inevitable right now. Will they have a long playoff run? Nothing’s ever guaranteed, but let’s just say I’m feeling pretty confident that May is going to be memorable.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

(Want to read this post on The Athletic for free? Sign up for a free seven-day trial.)

No comments:

Post a Comment